Poetry: Peace by Pallavi Narayan
The freedom of a thousand doves is not a fallacy.
A thousand selves live in each of you, and all your selves
Are thirsting for peace. You try to find it without.
But if you start going within, you sense a veritable galaxy.
For peace is in movement as it is in stillness.
It is the leaves rustling, the boughs nodding
At you in acknowledgement, just as the fish
In the pond in your condominium come up to you
As you are sounding on the concrete, little mouths popping
Open and close in expectation, their gleaming colours
Reflected in the gentle rushing of the water
That itself is peace. You can see it in the alignment
Of fountains, and you can think of mountains.
Shapes shifting and transforming fill the sky, and
This itself each moment is peace, let your spirit fly!
Peace can often be found in birds chirping as they
Hop in curiosity, pecking in pairs or threes, and if we look
Carefully, we’ll see the marvel of colour and shape,
The connected with each of us with every blossoming blade.
It’s in the delicacy of falling blooms from trees.
It’s in the lushness of the breeze as it pours when it rains.
Catch it in the blaze of the sunlight gradually dappled
With clouds. Call it out loud in the laughter of little ones
As you blow bubbles around them, make funny
Faces that hold traces of the child within you too.
When you’re feeling blue look up at the sky, the
Immensity of all that we don’t know and can’t see,
Lie down on the earth and kick off your shoes and
For a few, feel a measure of peace anew. Where can
Peace not be found? It is always within you. Your
Own self may be hard to reach when the world is
Sometimes much too much to breach, and sure,
Life isn’t always a beach. When you long for peace,
First raise your head and give yourself a long stare.
Think of what you want to see in the mirror. Smile
And you can see hints reflected there. Peace is
Sometimes in a call you thought you’d never have
The occasion or nerve to make, it’s in taking care of
Yourself and not giving as the situation may take.
It’s in preservation, it’s in concatenation of memory
And of intuition sacred, true, and in seeing the light
Again you can confer peace on others too. Yes, it
Really is in those around you, don’t go searching for it
Here or there or tackle it or hate on it. Go quieter
And see, in time, joy coursing through the breadth
Of you. For where is peace if not in cordial community?
And what is music if not a resurrection of peace itself?
Look into a pair of friendly eyes and hear the harmonies
Sing, feel the melody of a natural affinity ring.
Sense a collective euphoria of the sheer beauty
Of the transient moment really lived. Let’s not converse
About peace, pray, but dwell in it together every day.
Pallavi Narayan has published her poetry in anthologies such as Asingbol: An Archaeology of the Singaporean Poetic Form (2017), 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (2016) and SingPoWriMo 2015, and journals such as Muse India, New Quest and Literary Paritantra. She holds a PhD in literature from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and has presented her academic and creative work at invited lectures and international conferences in Chile, Cyprus, India, Turkey and Singapore. She has guest lectured on the Minor in Art History, National University of Singapore, taught Communication Skills at IIT Delhi, and moderated panels/given talks at the Singapore Art Book Fair, Singapore Writers Festival, Asia Research Institute, NUS, Singapore Book Publishers Association, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Overseas Indian Festival) Singapore.
With over a dozen years in the publishing industry, she was named Frankfurt Fellow 2018 of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where she represented, for the first time in the history of the fellowship, Singapore’s book trade. She has worked with Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art, National University of Singapore Press, Singapore Management University, Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan and Taylor & Francis Books. She is Honorary Fiction Editor with Kitaab and is on the advisory board of Inquis, a Turkish literature journal.